Supporting Jehovah’s Organization
“‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this way,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and see if I will not open for you the windows of the heavens, and pour out for you a blessing until there is no more need.’”—Mal. 3:10, AT.
1, 2. What prompts generous giving, and how is it viewed by the Christian?
THE spirit of giving originates with Jehovah. Out of himself he has given all created things and out of his boundless love he continually renews the surface of the earth. Often imperfect men take what Jehovah has abundantly provided as though it were their own. This selfish course is prompted by Satan, who has never given anything. Truly generous giving is prompted by love and, on the part of mankind, by a sincere appreciation with no thought of reward. It is done either spontaneously out of an overflowing heart and with no afterthought of regret or out of loving consideration for the one to whom the gift is made.
2 Christians recognize the responsibility of giving, but to them it is not a duty to be painfully and studiously performed. It is to them a blessed privilege that they earnestly seek to cultivate in order that they may become more Godlike and more positive in their manifestations of love toward Jehovah and their brothers in Jehovah’s great family organization of the New World society. Being voluntary members of the family, they recognize that support of the organization must be voluntary but given out of a full and appreciative heart for all God’s goodness.
3. From where does the main support of Jehovah’s organization come?
3 Jehovah’s organization is supported in a number of ways. According to his own testimony he himself is its main support. This is gratefully acknowledged by all who put their trust in him, “for Jehovah . . . is my strength and song; and he is become my salvation.” They confidently rely upon his promise: “I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. For I, Jehovah thy God, will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”—Isa. 12:2; 41:10, 13, AS.
4. What is shown to be the purpose for the existence of the organization? and by what means does Jehovah provide support?
4 Furthermore, the very purpose for the existence of the organization depends on the Most High. “The Lord Jehovah hath given me the tongue of them that are taught, that I may know how to sustain with words him that is weary.” “He will never suffer the righteous to be moved.” This is accomplished by the spiritual provision that he provides for his entire organization. “The eyes of all wait for thee; and thou givest them their food in due season.” (Isa. 50:4; Ps. 55:22; 145:15, AS) Not as with manna from heaven that sustained fleshly Israel with little effort on their part, Jehovah supports and develops his organization today through his active force upon the anointed society, his “faithful and discreet slave,” and upon its governing body. “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics to give them their food at the proper time? Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings.” Previous to that, when Christ ascended on high, “he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as missionaries, some as shepherds and teachers, with a view to the training of the holy ones for ministerial work.”—Matt. 24:45, 47; Eph. 4:8, 11, 12, NW.
SUPPORT THROUGH SPIRITUAL GIVING
5. What is the second means of support the organization has?
5 Through the support that he has given, Jehovah has used dedicated and consecrated men as “domestics” to aid in bringing the organization to the maturity of a “full-grown man, to the measure of growth that belongs to the fullness of the Christ.” (Eph. 4:13, NW) These, and all uniting with them, now add their own personal support to the organization by their individual dedication vows and by their faithfulness in field service, maintaining the purpose of the organization. They fully support the principle stated by Jesus: “He that is not on my side is against me, and he that does not gather with me scatters.” (Matt. 12:30, NW) Their primary support of the organization, then, is with their words in preaching. It is a spiritual giving of charitable works.
6. What advantages are demonstrated as to spiritual giving?
6 For this reason their primary attention is given to spiritual matters, as it was with Mary who “sat down at the feet of the Master and kept listening to his word.” Unlike Martha, Mary’s sister, they refuse to be distracted from the main purpose of their work by the many material problems with which they must deal or with the cares of keeping their “house” in order, but they remember Jesus’ words: “Mary chose the good portion, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:39-42, NW) The advantages of spiritual giving were also demonstrated by Peter, who told the man lame from birth: “Silver and gold I do not possess, but what I do have is what I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!” The man walked and leaped and praised God, joining in the ministry and freely giving his support to the apostles who had brought him into this new relationship to Jehovah and his organization.—Acts 3:6, NW.
7. What third means of support is given the organization, and why is it important?
7 Another important means of support given the organization by Jehovah’s faithful people is their regular attendance at the meetings of the congregation. Knowing that no organization can be any more than the individuals that compose it, they constantly seek personal advancement in accurate knowledge and maturity of understanding. This they do by making the very most of the meetings provided by the “faithful and discreet slave” as a part of their training for the ministerial work. To make the program a success and provide for the advancement of the local arrangement their own individual contribution is necessary. “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, and hath not another to lift him up.” (Eccl. 4:9, 10, AS) The early Christians were admonished to “keep on exhorting one another” and “keep comforting one another and building one another up, just as you are in fact doing.” (Heb. 3:13; 1 Thess. 5:11, NW) Paul showed how best to accomplish this in his letter to the Hebrews: “And let us consider one another to incite to love and right works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:24, 25, NW) This united study and fellowship were an essential part of the beginning of the Christian congregation. “And they continued devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to association together, to taking of meals and to prayers. And day after day they were in constant attendance at the temple with one accord.”—Acts 2:42, 46, NW.
EARLY EXAMPLES SHOW A WAY
8. What unique circumstances of the early congregation show another valuable means of support?
8 The fourth means of support that the organization has is demonstrated in the continuation of the above account: “And they took their meals in private homes and partook of nourishment with great rejoicing and sincerity of heart.” The unique circumstances with which the congregation was confronted called for concerted and unselfish action by all in the faith. Many of these thousands of new converts were in Jerusalem only temporarily, having come down as Jews for the feast of Pentecost. Now, having recognized the new and different work called for by the Messiah, they desired to remain for a time and receive proper training and instruction in the Christian ministry. But to do so would require funds which they did not have. The response made by the brothers to this need is an inspiration to all true Christians today. “All those who became believers were together in having all things in common, and they went to selling their possessions and properties and to distributing the proceeds to all just as anyone would have the need.” (Acts 2:44, 45, NW) The voluntary contributions of material things thus made during this temporary emergency supported the whole family of the organization at that time, even to providing the daily necessities of life. Although that particular emergency on the congregation is long past, such charitable gifts are still an important part of the giving of the Christian and necessary to the support of the organization; yet they do not relieve the giver of the responsibility of supporting the organization with his spiritual gifts as well.
9. How has wisdom been used as a defense by God’s organization, and for whose benefit?
9 In Ecclesiastes 7:12 (AS) it is written: “For wisdom is a defence, even as money is a defence; but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom preserveth the life of him that hath it.” Unquestionably, the more desirable of the two possessions is the wisdom and understanding of Jehovah. Accurate knowledge and wisdom are in themselves a real treasure to God’s organization, and these are being distributed freely by his ministers of the good news. In these perilous days of the end of Satan’s selfish system of things the “faithful and discreet slave” have used the abundance of wisdom given by Jehovah as a defense. This is not only for their own safety but also for the benefit of all who eagerly separate themselves from the wisdom of the world, which is foolishness with God, and who seek after God’s wisdom as for hidden treasures. (1 Cor. 3:19; Prov. 2:4) In this way they too avail themselves of the defense of wisdom and find the only sure way of escape and salvation.
10, 11. How did the Israelites make money a defense, and how does it serve the Society today?
10 However, it should not be overlooked that the preacher (who had both kinds of treasure) admits that “money is a defence.” Does this text apply to Christians today, whose strength is in Jehovah? Yes. Even as the early Christians used their material possessions to support the organization, so Jehovah’s witnesses today make their money serve the interests of the theocracy. Just as legal corporations are used as servants by the Society to advance the preaching work and make possible the use of many instruments otherwise not available, so money helps to build a strong organization and adds to Jehovah’s praise.
11 The Israelites of old used wisely the gold and silver that was taken as a gift of redemption from the Egyptians. When Jehovah called for a contribution in order that the tabernacle or “tent of meeting” might be constructed, the response was overwhelming. “And they kept coming, the men along with the women, every willing-hearted one. They brought brooches and earrings and rings and female ornaments, all sorts of articles of gold.” In addition there was blue thread and wool, linen, goat’s hair, ram skins, sealskins, silver, copper and acacia wood. Nothing needed was lacking. “Every man and woman whose hearts incited them to bring something for all the work that Jehovah had commanded to make by means of Moses did so; the sons of Israel brought a voluntary offering to Jehovah.” (Ex. 35:20-29, NW) Jehovah’s faithful servants today, as did the Israelites and the early Christians, use their possessions to advance pure worship. The wise use of money enables the Society to send missionaries into new fields, to open up new branches, to carry legal battles victoriously through costly court proceedings, to operate large conventions, and otherwise to spread the good news in every corner of the world according to Jehovah’s commission for his organization.
12. What blessings promised to Israel can be expected by Jehovah’s people today? and how do they view the future?
12 Furthermore, Jehovah’s witnesses have always been and are now a forward-looking people. Just as great prosperity had been foretold for faithful fleshly Israel, so spiritual Israel can expect real blessings. “Jehovah will decree for you the blessing on your stores of supply and every undertaking of yours, and he will certainly bless you in the land that Jehovah your God is giving you. And all the peoples of the earth will have to see that Jehovah’s name has been called upon you and they will indeed be afraid of you.” (Deut. 28:8, 10, NW) Now that Jehovah has brought forth his people and conferred nationhood upon them they can rely with confidence on Jehovah’s promise of prosperity in their organizational land. Wise provision for the future and continual forward vision will make them like the ant, “which having no chief, overseer, or ruler [that is, on earth], provideth her bread in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” (Prov. 6:6-8, AS) Anticipating the needs of the harvest Jehovah’s witnesses plan their work accordingly.—Gen. 41:41-49; 2 Chron. 8:4; 17:12.
ISRAEL’S TITHE A SHADOW
13. What provision was made through the law of tithe?
13 When the nation of Israel was organized, giving became a part of the Law and a “type” for Christian giving. Since Jehovah’s worship was to have prominence in the nation it was necessary that some provision be made to finance that worship. Not all could share in the priesthood, but Jehovah wisely made provision for all to share in the support of the priestly service. This was done through the law of “tithe,” which means “tenth.” “And Jehovah went on to say to Aaron: ‘In their land you will not have an inheritance and no share will become yours in their midst. I am your share and your inheritance in the midst of the sons of Israel. And to the sons of Levi, look! I have given every tenth part in Israel as an inheritance in return for their service that they are carrying on, the service of the tent of meeting.’” In order to complete this tithing arrangement the Levites, receiving their contributions from the Israelites, were in turn to give a tenth to the priests as a “tenth part of the tenth part.” The priests were the only ones permitted to offer sacrifices and must be, not only Levites, but also of the house of Aaron. The other Levites had various other temple duties. (Num. 18:20-29, NW) Actually, then, a tenth of the yearly income of every individual was to be given to Jehovah through his priestly organization.
14. Where were the tenth parts to be taken, and what is pictured thereby?
14 In addition, further voluntary offerings were permitted and encouraged. “And it must occur that the place that Jehovah your God will choose to have his name reside there is where you will bring all about which I am commanding you, your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tenth parts [your tithes, margin] and the contribution of your hand.” (Deut. 12:11, NW) Today Jehovah has selected and built up his spiritual nation and established his worship in that organization as a central place for all people of the earth to assemble and offer him their praise.
15. What second tithe was arranged for, and for what was it to be used?
15 A second tithe of their yearly increase was also to be set aside by the Israelites. This was to pay their way to their regular festival assemblies of worship. “Then you must give the money for whatever your soul may crave in the way of cattle and sheep and goats and wine and intoxicating liquor and anything that your soul may ask of you, and you must eat there before Jehovah your God and rejoice, you and your household.” Every third year (in a period of seven) the tithe was to be used for the poor, but this did not cancel the Levites’ tithe. (Deut. 14:22-29, NW) Later, taxes were imposed to support the king. (1 Sam. 8:15) This was not a part of the Law and in actual practice the king’s portion became so great during Israel’s deflections that little or nothing was left for the priests. Of necessity, then, when there was a restoration of true worship there was a restoration of the tithe.—2 Chron. 31:2-10; Ezra 8:28; Neh. 10:37, 38.
REALITY OF CHRISTIAN CONTRIBUTION
16. Is Christian tithing Scriptural? and what do Jesus’ words to the Pharisees reveal?
16 Today many religious organizations of Christendom require their members to pay tithes, or a tenth of their income. Is tithing required of Christians, according to the Scriptures? The answer is, No. True Christians will adhere to the Bible and follow its commandments. And what does the divine Record reveal? In the first place the tithe in Israel was a means to an end, not the end itself. It was not the material giving but the matters of worship resulting thereby that were to be emphasized. Jesus pointed this out to the false religious leaders of his day: “But woe to you Pharisees, because you give the tenth of the mint and the rue and of every other vegetable, but you pass by the justice and the love of God! These things you were under obligation to do, but those other things not to omit.” Matthew’s account of this scathing denunciation by Jesus shows that the tithe was not even considered as one of the weightier matters of the Law.—Luke 11:42; Matt. 23:23, NW.
17. How can it be shown that the tithe was removed with the rest of Moses’ Law?
17 Furthermore, since the tithe was designed to support the Levitical priesthood, the removal of that priesthood would remove the obligation to tithe, and Paul clearly stated that the priesthood of Aaron must give way to the superior priesthood of Christ Jesus, which is after a new order, that of Melchizedek. Then he says: “For since the priesthood is being changed, there comes to be of necessity a change also of the law.” (Heb. 7:12, NW) That means that, with the Law of Moses and of the Aaronic priesthood removed, the law of tithe goes out with it. Therefore, since Christians are not under the Law but under the undeserved kindness of God, no organization can Scripturally require its members to tithe.
18. Is Abraham’s giving a tenth part to Melchizedek authority for Christian tithing? Explain.
18 Some who insist on Christian tithing argue that the arrangement was in practice before the Law was given and that therefore it was not ended with the Law. Is there any basis for such a conclusion? The first mention of the tithe is in the fourteenth chapter of Genesis. “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine, and he was priest of the Most High God. Then he blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, Producer of heaven and earth, and blessed be the Most High God, who has delivered your oppressors into your hand!’ At that Abram gave him a tenth [tithe, margin] of everything.” (Gen. 14:18-20, NW) Some claim that this act on the part of Abraham is evidence that he practiced tithing. There is no record that Abraham was commanded to give anything, especially a specific amount, on this or any other occasion and no record that his act was ever repeated even to Melchizedek, who pictured Jesus Christ. It is quite clear from the account that this was a single voluntary gift in acknowledgment of Jehovah’s victory in delivering righteous Lot.
19. What does Jacob’s vow to give a tenth of his income reveal as to a commandment on tithing?
19 That this was not a binding arrangement even on Abraham’s immediate descendants is shown by a vow made by his grandson Jacob. “And Jacob went on to vow a vow, saying: ‘If God will continue with me and will certainly keep me on this trip on which I am going and will certainly give me bread to eat and clothing to wear . . . as for everything that you will give me I shall without fail give the tenth of it to you.’” (Gen. 28:20-22, NW) It is unreasonable to believe that Jacob would have made obedience to an arrangement of God conditional upon God’s granting him personal prosperity. Therefore it is evident that his vow was a voluntary offering on his part and not the keeping or agreement to keep a previously stated tithing commandment. Neither could such a personal vow be construed as binding upon his sons. From a consideration of the record, then, it is clear that at all times Jehovah’s servants have given freely and voluntarily, but it was only during the period of the Law of fleshly Israel with its types and shadows that Jehovah commanded giving of the tenth part as a tithe.
20. What is the antitypical reality of the law of tithe? and how is this Scripturally shown?
20 What is pictured by the Israelites’ giving a tenth part of their yearly increase? Ten denoting earthly completeness, it represents the Christian’s giving everything that he has in the Kingdom service. It means primarily giving oneself unreservedly and without qualification in dedicated preaching service and support of Jehovah’s organization. “Then I said, ‘Look! I am come (in the roll of the book it is written about me) to do your will, O God.’” “Through him let us always offer to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which make public declaration to his name.” But certainly it includes the freewill offering of one’s material possessions as well, for Paul adds: “Moreover, do not forget the doing of good and the sharing of things with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Heb. 10:7; 13:15, 16, NW) The words of the two great commandments of Jesus further emphasize the certainty: “‘And you must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength.’ The second is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Mark 12:30, 31, NW) Jesus further admonished his disciples: “Sell the things belonging to you and give them as gifts of mercy.” (Luke 12:33, NW) During the temporary emergency following the great Pentecost conversion, the early Christians had occasion to keep this commandment literally. “Moreover, the multitude of those who had believed had one heart and soul, and not even one would say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.” (Acts 4:32, NW) Their prayers might well have echoed that of their father David when he viewed the great wealth contributed for the building of Jehovah’s temple: “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” (1 Chron. 29:14, AS) Jehovah knows all our needs and prospers us as he sees fit. How could it be said that unreserved dedication does not involve also giving him materially of his own to his praise and in support of his organization? Full and complete giving is the real antitype of the law of tithe.
FAITHFULLY FINANCING GOD’S FAMILY
21. How does James’ illustration of faith demonstrate the spirit of giving among Jehovah’s people?
21 Jesus never found it necessary to solicit funds for his ministry. He was Jehovah’s minister and Jehovah prospered him. For this same reason the Watch Tower Society and Jehovah’s witnesses have never passed a collection plate nor have dues ever been charged to persons who are associated with the New World society. This has never been necessary, is not now and, God helping, never will be necessary as long as Jehovah’s people have the spirit God has put in them to be cheerful givers. This giving on the part of his people must certainly bring joy to the heart of Jehovah as it does to all the family of his great organization. Their interest in the advancement of his praise is not mere lip service, nor is it a matter solely of faith with them. James demonstrated faith by the illustration: “If a brother or a sister is in a naked state and lacking the food sufficient for the day, yet a certain one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm and well fed,’ but you do not give them the necessities for their body, of what benefit is it?” (Jas. 2:15, 16, NW) The advancement of the work to the present time is evidence that when Jehovah’s faithful servants see the need in God’s great family, either at the local Kingdom Hall or the Watch Tower Society’s branch, they do not simply pray for prosperity and say, ‘Jehovah will provide!’ and then go their several ways. Their response is the same as was that of the early congregation.
22. What response did the Macedonian congregations make to the need of the Jerusalem brothers, and why did it bring such joy to Paul?
22 The material needs of an international organization are not supplied by faith alone, any more than is the world-wide preaching. The material giving necessary for Christians has been demonstrated in modern times as well as in the beginning of the Christian congregation. Today, as then, people of all nations are coming into the truth and associating themselves with God’s organization. Very few of them are rich in the material things of this life nor do they seek such, but they know that it was through his organization that the Lord brought them the truth and so they gladly support it. Due to great persecution of the early congregation in Jerusalem, the governing body and others of the faithful Christians there came to be in want. When the scattered congregations heard of their condition they willingly offered assistance even though they had no overabundance themselves. Paul was so overjoyed at the response of the Macedonian congregations that he wrote to the Corinthians: “Now I let you know, brothers, about the undeserved kindness of God which has been bestowed upon the congregations of Macedonia, that during a great test under affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty made the riches of their generosity abound. For according to their actual ability, yes, I testify, beyond their actual ability this was, while they of their own accord kept begging us with strong entreaty for the privilege of kindly giving and for a share in the ministry destined for the holy ones.”—2 Cor. 8:1-4, NW.
23. With what other attributes did Paul associate the giving of funds? and with what principle did he encourage the brothers?
23 The Corinthians themselves had generously responded also, and Paul, in sending Titus to them to take up their contribution, wrote about it: “Nevertheless, just as you are abounding in everything, in faith and word and knowledge and all earnestness and in this love of ours to you, may you also abound in this kind giving.” (2 Cor. 8:7, NW) Thus Paul associates giving of funds with faith and knowledge and love, and recommends it as a condition of spiritual health. He reminded them of the principle that to sow sparingly is to reap sparingly and then encouraged them: “Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Although giving was entirely voluntary no one need feel he could not share, for Paul said: “God, moreover, is able to make all his undeserved kindness abound toward you, that, while you always have full self-sufficiency in everything, you may have plenty for every good work.”—2 Cor. 9:6-9, NW.
24. What blessings are evidenced through the material support of Jehovah’s organization?
24 Their ministry in charitable gifts not only was a support of the organization in its material needs but was a great joy and a source of praise to Jehovah’s name. “In everything you are being enriched for every kind of generosity, which produces through us an expression of thanks to God; because the ministry of this public service is not only to supply abundantly the wants of the holy ones but also to be rich with many expressions of thanks to God. Through the proof that this ministry gives, they glorify God because you are submissive to the good news about the Christ, as you publicly declare you are, and because you are generous in your contribution to them and to all.” (2 Cor. 9:11-13, NW) In the same way the voluntary giving of Jehovah’s witnesses today to support the vast world-wide organization of true worshipers is also a cause of joy and praise to Jehovah. Not under compulsion but freely—many of their own need—all share in the material advancement of the work as well as by their own word of testimony.
25. What material provision is being made for new ones to assemble?
25 Thousands, perhaps millions, are yet to come and join in swelling the chorus of praise to Jehovah. With forward-looking expectancy already provision is being made for them through the Society’s branch organizations and the local Kingdom Halls. If these people are to gather with us and be trained for the ministerial work, we must provide places for them to meet and the rent for these places must be paid. For this purpose contribution boxes are placed in the Kingdom Halls and the voluntary donations received from the brothers are used to defray the expenses of the congregation. From the surplus, as the congregation may decide, contributions to the “Your Contribution Prospects” fund of the branch are made for the congregation to the Society. This the brothers are glad to do.
PROSPERITY THAT COUNTS
26. How has Christendom misappropriated and misused the wealth she has collected in God’s name?
26 The false religious organizations collect immense sums of money by every means. This money is used to build large and costly buildings, usually far beyond the ability of the people who assemble in them to pay. Besides, an expensive clergy and often a paid choir are maintained. Those of the flock, contributing to these systems, gaze upon their magnificent edifices and count themselves prosperous. They consider as unfortunate those who must meet in less “impressive” and “awe-inspiring” buildings. But what can all this contribute to the glory of God? Can any of the most beautiful and costly churches of today begin to compare with the splendor of Solomon’s temple? Yet the builder of that house of worship in his prayer of dedication said: “But will God in very deed dwell on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded!” (1 Ki. 8:27, AS) How Christendom has misappropriated and misused the great wealth collected in God’s name! “Should man rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed thee?’ In the tithe and the contribution! With a curse are you accursed; for you are robbing me; this whole nation!” (Mal. 3:8, 9, AT) All the money extorted from her adherents by Christendom does not bring words of praise to Jehovah nor comfort of his purposes to the people. Instead, Christendom’s wealth is used in idolatry. “As for you, O house of Israel, thus says the Lord GOD: Go serve every one of you his idols, now and hereafter, if you will not listen to me; but my holy name you shall no more profane with your gifts and your idols.”—Ezek. 20:39, RS.
27. Wherein is the prosperity of Jehovah’s witnesses found?
27 On the other hand, Jehovah’s witnesses display an ever-expanding organization of ministers thoroughly trained in the service and praise of their God. This is their prosperity and they rejoice in the part each one has had in the generous support of the program that makes it possible. They do not amass great sums to enrich themselves, nor do they allow the need of money, or the necessary expenditure of it, to deflect them from the real purpose of their organization. Neither do they contribute as ‘pay’ for the blessings they receive at the Kingdom Halls. Truth, more precious than gold and silver, cannot be bought. And truth brings love of God and love is manifested in generous giving.
28. How is the unity of all in the congregation expressed in giving?
28 In the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses it is not just a few who carry the expenses of the organization. As a further example of their unity, the financing of the work is accomplished by the combined giving of all. For example, if there are fifty persons assembling in a Kingdom Hall and the rent is thirty dollars a month, that means an average of sixty cents for each person. Some will be able to give more and some less, but those who are not able to give that amount need not feel ashamed or that they cannot have some share. Jesus made this quite clear when he showed how much Jehovah appreciated the ‘widow’s mite.’ “Then he saw a certain needy widow drop two small coins of very little value there, and he said: ‘I tell you truthfully, This widow, although poor, dropped in more than them all. For all these dropped in gifts out of their surplus, but this woman out of her want dropped in all the means of living she had.’” (Luke 21:2-4, NW) Those who have an abundance give as they can; it does not hurt them and it is pleasing to the Lord. But the one who gives of his little amount shows his sincerity to an even greater extent.
29. How can it be shown that the blessings that go with material support of the organization should not be limited to those with more funds?
29 Giving small amounts is not appreciated or encouraged by the false religions of Christendom, but that is not true in Jehovah’s organization. Remember, Paul demonstrated that material giving is an important part of the Christian’s outlook and is received with thanks to God. While charitable works of preaching are the minister’s first concern, still some effort at support of the organization by charitable gifts, however small, is essential to the spiritual health and maturity of the Christian. How is this so? Consider the spiritual gifts for a moment. Take, for example, the gift of the minister who is able to spend only one hour a month in preaching the good news from house to house. Certainly this contribution to the advancement of the Kingdom, though small, is not rejected, is it? And if the brother is unable to do more than that in a month, no one views his effort as ‘pulling down the average,’ does he? All are glad that he has had a share in the Kingdom witness and recognize that some good has been done. No one thinks of comparing his one hour with the thousands that were used in preaching that month. Why, then, should the one who is able to contribute only fifteen or twenty cents as a charitable gift compare his offering with the total expenses of the congregation or with the vast amount spent each month by the branch? Those who are able to spend only a few hours in the service do not stay home because ‘the pioneers are able to give much more time.’ Neither should material support of the organization, and the blessings that go with such giving, be limited to those with more funds. If there had been no response to the call for spiritual giving in the restoration of true worship beginning in the Elijah period, and if no one had preached, there would have been no expansion of Jehovah’s praise, and how could any of us have been brought the truth? Similarly, if none had contributed so generously as in times past—and as at the present—the work would have been curtailed and it might be that it would be impossible for us to be reading The Watchtower today! All thanks to Jehovah for the maturity of his organization and for his spirit of giving upon his people!
SHARING IN PRODUCING
30, 31. How does the example of the farmer illustrate the need for every activity in the organization?
30 Not only do those in the congregations respond to the need of the local organization, but they are mindful also of the extensive work being done by each of the Society’s more than seventy branch organizations throughout the world. Just as contributions were dispatched to the governing body in the early congregation, so the brothers all over the world support the headquarters for Jehovah’s organization in their country. Truly it is said that Jehovah is the main support of his organization. He is able to provide all things needed, both for the organization and for those who compose it. He is himself the great Giver and Fruit Bearer. “(Just as it is written: ‘He has made a distribution, he has given to those of little means, his righteousness continues forever.’ Now he that abundantly supplies seed to the sower and bread for eating will supply and multiply the seed for you to sow and will increase the products of your righteousness.) “(2 Cor. 9:9, 10, NW) Yet all things produced share in the production operation themselves. Jehovah provides a bountiful supply of material food; still, the farmer must work to produce the harvest. And if he follows the divinely established rules he will receive enough not only to sustain himself until time for the next planting, but he will have seed to plant. (Isa. 28:23-26) The same cycle is found in the theocratic expansion of Jehovah’s organization.
31 All who feast on Jehovah’s spiritual provision and come to maturity share in the preaching work. The spiritual food is abundant, yet some must devote their time to producing it. (Acts 6:1-4) This the Lord has made possible through his generous gift in men to the organization. Writing and printing the literature that contains the beautiful message of the good news are indeed privileges. But distribution of the literature is also necessary for the harvest and carries with it its own special blessings. Before the fruits of his labors can be reaped the farmer must first plow and harrow the ground, sow, water and cultivate. Thus, every activity in the organization is necessary and all work together to complete the arrangement.
32. How is the interdependency of the organization shown in the producing of the literature?
32 Besides, those who are not able to have part in the producing of the literature can assist financially in this feature of the work. “For those in Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to share up their things by a contribution to the poor of the holy ones in Jerusalem. True, they have been pleased to do so, and yet they were debtors to them; for if the nations have shared in their spiritual things, they also owe it to minister publicly to these with things for the physical body.” This shows the interdependency of the organization, each part supplying its own share to provide for the lack of the others. “For I do not mean for it to be easy for others, but hard on you; but that by means of an equalizing your surplus just now might offset their deficiency, in order that their surplus might also come to offset your deficiency, that an equalizing might take place. Just as it is written: ‘The person with much did not have too much, and the person with little did not have too little.’”—Rom. 15:26, 27; 2 Cor. 8:13-15, NW.
33. For acting wisely on what opportunity were the Philippian brothers blessed?
33 In addition to the printing of literature that many branches do, there are many other expenses necessary to maintain the expansion program, and these can be and are being shared by the brothers also. Paul was engaging in the circuit work when he wrote: “Nevertheless, you acted well in becoming sharers with me in my tribulation. In fact, you Philippians, also know that at the start of declaring the good news, when I departed from Macedonia, not a congregation took a share with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone, because, even in Thessalonica, you sent something to me both once and a second time for my need.” (Phil. 4:14-16, NW) The Philippian brothers were acting wisely on their opportunities and certainly received a blessing from the Lord and favorable mention in his inspired Word. Many of the congregations today likewise recognize this opportunity and share in this necessary expense.
34. What other expenses do the branches incur, yet why are they not regretted?
34 In addition to the circuit work, the hundreds of missionary homes maintained by the Society throughout the world are contributing their share to the expansion program. Ably assisting also are the special pioneers. Besides the cost of these two features of the service, which all the branches have, there is the maintaining of each Bethel home itself and those who contribute their labor of love to the brothers throughout the territory it serves. Then there is the expense of the regular assemblies that are held, not to mention the many costly court cases that have been necessary to ‘defend and legally establish the good news.’ These are all expenses of the organization that we do not regret, because the wealth of blessings these expenditures have brought cannot be measured in dollars and cents. They demonstrate to the whole world that while Jehovah’s witnesses are not the wealthiest of people they are not afraid to spend what they have in the right cause and they know how to get the most out of what they spend. Above all, it demonstrates that Jehovah’s spirit is upon his organization and there is nothing needed that can not and will not be done. The phenomenal growth of his organization today has not been accomplished without spending money, but by Jehovah’s undeserved kindness the expansion is still going forward!
SUPPORTING FUTURE PROSPERITY
35. How is regularity in charitable giving encouraged by Paul?
35 As all share in some part of the preaching program all make an effort to share in charitable giving as well. As the time spent by each servant is voluntary, so is his giving of material funds a matter for his own decision. But as an effort is made toward regularity in the field, so the regular setting aside of money to be used in support of the organization is also advised by the apostle. “Now concerning the collection which is for the holy ones, just as I gave orders to the congregations of Galatia, do that way also yourselves. Every first day of the week let each of you at his own house set something aside in store as he may be prospering, so that when I arrive collections will not take place then.”—1 Cor. 16:1, 2, NW.
36. What former experiences of many coming into the truth are compared with the position of the early Jewish Christians? and what view of the matter can be taken?
36 Having come out of the present wicked system of things, all of Jehovah’s people know what it means to spend money on those things that do not bring praise to Jehovah. Those who have been affiliated with false religion have regularly seen the collection plates; they have been dunned weekly with ‘offering envelopes’; in some countries many have even been subjected to salary deductions for religious “donations”; they have “contributed” for christenings, weddings, funerals, special building funds, missionary funds and so on. Some, before coming into the truth, have spent much on the gratifying of the flesh through addiction to tobacco and other similar habits. Probably none of those separating themselves from the corruption of Satan’s influence have felt greater relief on coming into the truth than those Jews at the beginning of Christianity. Loaded down as they had been by the heavy burdens apostate Judaism had imposed upon them and seeing their tithes, though divinely commanded, used actually to rob God of his praise, still these were among those of whom, after their conversion, it is recorded in Acts: “Not even one would say that any of the things he possessed was his own.” Now that they could see their freewill contributions being used to Jehovah’s praise they would not withhold any part of what they had! Time, formerly given to false religious practices or to selfish pleasures, is gladly redeemed by the new theocratic minister and devoted to Jehovah’s service. Money also, often given in excess to satisfy self or to satisfy the greed of Satan’s “sanctified” extortioners, is freely dedicated to support of Jehovah’s organization. It is Jehovah’s spirit that has come upon them that makes them cheerful givers!
37. Who recognize that Jehovah has called his name upon his organization? and why are the nations afraid?
37 With Jehovah’s spirit upon his organization its promised time of prosperity is being realized. Through many seemingly insurmountable periods he has supported and richly blessed it. Its expansion knows no bounds! Through peak after peak in numbers, the record of Jehovah’s ministers is spiraling upward. Still in an insignificant minority and in its infancy of years, the New World society performs a work and enjoys a prosperity that amazes and puts in fear the nations of Satan’s system of things. The selfish rulers of this world are astounded at what they see going on, unable to believe their own eyes. Which of them can operate a government by a system of voluntary taxation? Yet the New World society is being established forever world-wide on just that basis. Which of the “churches” of Satan’s system can fulfill its chosen responsibility to society without constant solicitation or extortion? Yet the present unparalleled growth of Jehovah’s witnesses and the comfort and inspiration they have brought to millions of people all over the world have been the result of a relatively small number’s making a freewill contribution of their time and of their money in support of their divinely commissioned work. Jehovah has put his rich blessing upon his organization and granted such an increase that now 580,000 ministers are singing his praises to the ends of the earth. All these, trained by the “faithful and discreet slave,” are eagerly lending their support to the training of still more who recognize that Jehovah is upholding the organization upon which he has put his name.
38. How can the continued prosperity of Jehovah’s organization be supported now and in the future?
38 Thousands of these new ones are flocking to the family of God and offering themselves for the ministerial work. In the years to come with all the brothers seeing their great privilege of contributing toward the work, even in a small way directly to the Society and directly to their Kingdom Halls, with the funds coming in, what far greater expansion work can be carried on than has already been done with the funds that have been so generously contributed up until now! What marvelous new prospects lie before us? “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this way,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and see if I will not open for you the windows of the heavens, and pour out for you a blessing until there is no more need.’” “Thanks be to God for his indescribable free gift.”—Mal. 3:10, AT; 2 Cor. 9:15, NW.